Keratoconus is an eye condition in which your cornea — your eye’s transparent cover — begins to grow thinner and bulge out in a cone-like shape. Because your cornea’s job is to focus light into your eyes, having keratoconus in one or both eyes can distort the way you see and interfere with your vision.
Although keratoconus can strike at any age, it occurs most commonly in people in their late teens or early 20s. It can worsen relatively quickly, or it may progress slowly over the course of years or decades.
Keratoconus is a serious condition. In the past, patients had very few options for stopping its progression. But now, your eye care professionals at Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center are excited to offer a groundbreaking new treatment for this condition: corneal cross-linking.
Corneal cross-linking, which was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, is the first and only treatment that effectively stabilizes the cornea and can stop keratoconus from getting worse.
Read on as we explain more about this very exciting development in keratoconus care.
Simple and pain-free
Corneal cross-linking combines the use of a specially designed ultraviolet A (UVA) light and vitamin-enriched eyedrops to slow or stop the progression of corneal bulging. It is a far better treatment option than corneal transplant, one of the only options for people with advanced keratoconus.
Corneal cross-linking provides a far easier, less invasive solution than corneal transplant. We perform corneal cross-linking our office on an outpatient basis.
What to expect
Here’s how this simple, pain-free procedure works.
After administering a local anesthetic, one of our doctors at Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center — Dr. David O’Day or Dr. Leonard Achiron — removes the outer layer of your cornea and applies specially formulated eyedrops that contain vitamin B2 (riboflavin) directly to your eye. These drops prepare your eye for the remainder of the procedure.
Next, your doctor directs UVA light into your eye. This UVA light triggers a process known as cross-linking, which leads to changes in the structure of the collagen protein that supports your cornea. UVA light strengthens and stiffens your cornea, allowing it to maintain its shape rather than continue to bulge. It is applied on and off in 5 second increments for about 10 minutes.
After the procedure, your doctor puts a temporary contact lens into your eye to protect it for a few days. At home, you use vitamin B2-containing eyedrops.
Safe and successful
The UVA light used in this procedure is safe and is introduced into your eye in a targeted way that doesn’t damage other parts of your eyes.
Corneal cross-linking can stop the progression of keratoconus. And in about half of patients, it can flatten out the existing corneal bulge, resulting in better vision.
By stopping the progression of cornea bulging, keratoconus patients can reduce their chances of needing a corneal transplant. Keratoconus is currently the leading cause of cornea transplant in the United States.
Learn more about corneal cross-linking
The eye care professionals at Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center have the extensive training and experience necessary to perform corneal cross-linking on patients with keratoconus. The new procedure is now covered by most insurance plans.
To learn more about keratoconus and corneal cross-linking or to schedule an eye checkup call our office or use the online booking option on this website.